In Georgia and elsewhere, many elders have close relationships with adult sons or daughter, or perhaps adult nieces, nephews or grand-children. Such family members are often key figures in helping aging loved ones manage their financial affairs. An ongoing situation in another state involves the great-nephew of an older woman, who has owned and operated a hotel for many years, and a recent court decision to appoint a legal guardian due to her supposed incapacitation.

The hotel owned by the woman in question inhabits several residents who have lived there for numerous years, including her great-nephew, who emigrated to the United States from Lithuania many years ago. He says he thinks of her as a mother because she has been so instrumental in helping him obtain an education and become successful in his life in the U.S. In turn, he has always helped her by taking her shopping or to run other errands, as needed.

At some point, the woman apparently decided to sell her great-nephew one of the buildings on her hotel property. This has led to a bitter legal battle between a local real estate agent, who claims to be a neighbor of the woman although she lives more than half a mile away. The realtor filed a petition in court to request that a legal guardian be appointed to the woman. She stated in her claim that the woman informed her she had no intention on selling her properties; therefore, she believes the woman’s great-nephew caused her to sell under duress or by coercion because he bought it for much lower than current market value.

An attorney speaking on behalf of the nephew said the woman is allowed to sell or give her property to whomever she chooses. As it stands, the court granted the real estate agent’s petition. The appointed guardian made the decision to move the woman to an assisted-living facility and to bar her great-nephew from seeing her. The situation has unfolded in Florida, where there have been past cases of people being forced into legal guardianship then later released. Any man or woman in Georgia facing similar problems regarding a threat to petition the court for a legal guardian can reach out for guidance and support by requesting a meeting with an elder law attorney.